Excellent fuel economy thanks to the lightweight construction, aerodynamics and numerous intelligent engines.
5 Star NCAP safety score
The interior looks great and the exterior has a nice futuristic touch.
The steering is good but feels a little over-assisted at times.
Entry level equipment is lacking, avoid the "Access" trim level models.
Poorly designed cabin creates ergonomic issues, the interior doesn't feel as good as it looks.
The five speed gearbox needs a lot of coaxing sometimes.
First released in 2008 the Peugeot 308 is the French manufacturer's follow-on from the 307. Whilst primarily a hatchback the 308 is also available as the 308 SW estate model and the 308 CC cabriolet. The ability of the estate version to carry seven people has made it very popular with large families.
First Generation (2008-2013):
On the outside the 308 didn't look all too different from the 307 it replaced which was a shame because internally there was a lot of improvement. The new engine lineup featured two petrol variants of 1.4 and 1.6 litre capacity. The rest of the range was made up of diesels in a 1.6 or 2.0 litre guise. The HDi model holds the current Guinness world record for fuel consumption! It has averaged on realistic tests around 90 miles per gallon, due in part to its excellent drag coefficient of 0.29.
The 308 received a facelift in 2011 which finally gave it an exterior that matched the innovative technology beneath. The drag coefficient was reduced once again to 0.28 meaning a tiny improvement in fuel consumption yet again. The hybrid model of the 308 was also timed for release with the facelift, it's not a full hybrid but it does recover energy from vehicle actions like braking.
Second Generation (2014 - present):
Not much has changed with the second generation in terms of mechanics and appearance, the same engine lineup is present, the same great fuel consumption too. The real improvement in the second generation is the sleek and simple interior design which is purposefully modeled on the smooth lines of the first generation facelift. The result is a cabin where ergonomics meets both style and generous equipment levels to create the best interior in the class. That said, those generous equipment levels are not present in the opening "Access" model of the range which certainly lives up to its name.
The 308, especially following the facelift in 2011, is a fine car that suffers primarily due to the intense competition of the current hatchback market. It truly excels when it comes to fuel consumption though and its rivals have come nowhere near its current world record of 90 miles per gallon. When we apply this frugality on petrol and attach it to the seven seater estate model, that's where the 308 really shines, taking 7 people long distances in comfort whilst using as little fuel as possible. Other than that it can't help but be noticed that the VW Golf and Ford Focus are generally better all-round packages offering more excitement and refinement for a similar price.